HR Mix Tape

Posted: May 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

HT (hat-tip) to Mark Hendy (@MarkSWHRF) for this marvellous idea of a mix tape you send to your future self is awesome and he blogged it here.  So here’s mine.


1) Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?

Socio-conscious lyrics were becoming the norm in the early 1970s.  Marvin Gaye famously had to renegotiate his contract with Berry Gordy Jnr and Motown to record this magnus opus.  Heartfelt pleas to put the planet right, stop fighting each other, and bring some understanding to the world.  Fast-forward to 2017 – caught in a pretty unforeseen socio-political storm – brings these lyrics back to the front of our minds.  Taking the artist approach, how many of us are caught in machine-like existence at work and would love to discover our true craft and lead a more fulfilled life with our work being a big part of that?

HR Lesson – don’t survey me “Talk to me, so you can see, what’s going on…”

2) Bobby Womack – The Truth Song

Work is a fiction.  Yuval Noah Harari declared something similar in his book Sapiens that money and nations that we live by/in – are all fictions.  Not real.  Yet the working fiction dominates our lives.  Womack calls for us to “be the truth”.  By us, at work, being just, open, inclusive, ethical, humane we can make work a place of safety and value.  We’re told enough lies through some of our less-than-scrupulous-media outlets, so let’s not have organisational lies on top of that please.

HR lesson – HR can be the truth in that fiction of work. Let the truth be all that you are.

3) Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up

“Move on up, towards your destination.  Though you may find, from time, complication.”  What DOES the future hold for us in work and for HR professionals being the guardians of the human factor at work?  Move on up and keep on wishing, remember your dream is your only scheme so keep on pushing.  We may not realise it, but in HR, we have the gift of helping people realise their dreams in the world of work, and to settle troubled minds about the future.

HR lesson: We need a move on up mindset more than most.  People are counting on us.

4) SOS Band – Just Be Good To Me

The covenant between organisation and employer is built on this – be good for, and to, each other.  Don’t fiddle your overtime on the one hand, and don’t punish me for being creative on the other.  Bottom line, as the RSA recently declared, work can be good.  It should be good for all parties concerned.

HR Lesson: what is the good that people need and experience in your organisation?  As a colleague or partner in work, just be good to me.

5) Miles Davis – So What

If the work we do, and the way we feel the organisation cares or doesn’t about us, then the “So What” moment is unanswered leaving us in a state of not belonging to anything bigger than ourselves.  If an organisation really does value us as people, then we shouldn’t ever wonder “so what is this work all about?”  If they don’t value us beyond a mere economic exchange, then “so what” becomes an easy opt out to not be more creative, productive and believe in the things the organisation does, makes, stands for and creates.

HR Lesson: be the ones who help others in the organisation realise that “so what’ is a question to answer, regularly, to help people have more meaning in their working lives.

6) Gwen McCrae – Lead Me On

“You know how I feel, you understand.  What it is, to be a stranger in this unfriendly land. Here’s my hand. Take it, and I’ll follow you.” We all need some form of leadership – whether it’s an inspiring, comforting, guiding figure or our own conscience. In troubled times, we look to others to provide that wisdom, bravery, belief.  We, instead, have people who enjoy positions of privilege, power and pomp.  Yet, we need more humanity and kindness in our leaders matched with strength and guile.  So whether it’s an entitled other or someone you believe in, lead me on.

HR Lesson: be the leader of humans. Walk by others’ sides.  Lead people on to a better way.

Thanks for the inspiration Mark. Lead me on.


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